We may be hitting Aether Revolt in stride now – and we can expect Fatal Push to shake up the format – but there's still plenty of time to remember just how impactful Kaladesh was on Modern. We got a handful of cards that mattered, but without a doubt my fatal addition to the format came in the form of a "one-card combo" that has made its way into a number of decks.
In particular, I'm talking about Madcap Experiment and what may as well be the rest of the card's text: Platinum Emperion. The combo has shown up throughout Modern, from the sideboard of Storm decks to an alternative win condition for what was previously the "Blue Moon" decks. It's strong, consistent and an easy five or six-card package to slot into multiple decks.
Nowhere is it better than here.
That package is at its best in this deck, for several reasons. The Ponza deck, which aims to get ahead of mana with Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl while simultaneously denying it from opponents with spells like Blood Moon, Stone Rain and one of the most fun land destruction spells to resolve, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, sometimes struggled with finding a finisher. Inferno Titan and Stormbreath Dragons could sometimes clog up the hand and leave the deck without enough action early, or it could draw all mana spells and nothing to do with them.
Madcap Experiment solves that problem nicely. It's a great play on turn three – or even turn two if you have the dream Arbor Elf into Utopia Sprawl start – but it's also still good on the fourth turn if your opponent messes with you early. Furthermore, casting Platinum Emperion is a realistic expectation in this deck much moreso than just about any other, which is a real concern from time to time.
Does the Madcap Experiment shell make Ponza a top-tier deck? I'm not sure. It doesn't do a ton to address some of the more problematic matchups (namely, any deck that can shrug off Blood Moon), but it does do a lot for the deck's consistency, which would make me much more comfortable playing the deck over a long tournament. It has put up occasional results in Modern, and as players figure out the best configuration for the Madcap Experiment shell I wouldn't be surprised to see it pick up a little more steam. After all, the deck's finishers don't care at all about Fatal Push, which seems like a good position to be in for Modern in the coming months. I expect the Aether Revolt card to bring Control back to an extent, and there's not much better than chaining Stone Rains against decks that want the most mana to operate.
As good as the Madcap Experiment package is, it's actually not all Kaladesh had to give us.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance is another all-star in this deck, and as completely broken on turn two as you would expect. This deck makes better use of her full range of abilities than most. Obviously the card advantage and removal roles are good, but making mana with Chandra is far more appealing when you're trying to ramp out Inferno Titan or Platinum Emperion. I've used the "ritual" ability on Chandra far more in this deck than any other where I've tried her.
If you're into blowing up some lands, look no further than Platinum Ponza. The deck is a blast to play and actually seems fairly decently positioned right now.
May your Mwonvuli Acid-Moss always catch them by surprise!
Thanks for reading,